"What is the restaurant's phone number? I want to book a table."


March 13, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Why isn't 我想订位 accepted? Why is it 要 here?


Saying you want a reservation would imply a definite intention to do something. Thus, you would use 要, because that says "want", while also being used to say you will do something. 想 is just implying want. Really, the most proper phrase to use here would be 想要.


Oh so would it be correct to say that 要 is to want to .... while 想 is to want (something)?


Not really.

In front of a verb:

  • "要" tends to mean "want/need and intend  to V" (and in some cases can simply be interpreted as "be going to V"); whereas

  • "想" means "want to V" in the sense of "would like to V" or "be thinking about V-ing", without implying a present intention to actually carry out the action.

In front of a noun:

  • "要" simply means "want (something)"; whereas

  • "想" on its own never means mean "want"; rather, it means "miss (someone)", "think about (someone or something)", or "try to come up with / think of (a way)".


"多少" versus "什么"

Your answer will be marked wrong if you use spaces.


想 is accepted now 2020年1月23号


In Qingdao they use 多少 but it definitely feels stange to me. People use 什么 as well


Thats what I thought too. I have never heard a question for a phone number like this.


I'm re-posting an earlier comment of mine from another page that summarizes my understanding of the matter of asking phone numbers.

I'm curious to know, from those of you who are native Mandarin speakers, (1) where you're from, (2) if you're not personally from a Mandarin-speaking area, but speak Mandarin with your family, what region your variety of Mandarin is from, and (3) whether my description is accurate for your region.

  1. 你的电话号码是多少
  2. 你的电话(号码)(是)几号? (This version is common without "是", but it also occurs with it.)
  3. 你的电话号码是什么?

Native Mandarin Chinese speakers have their individual opinions about these, because China is a big place, not to mention the outlying Chinese-speaking countries and regions, and this is a colloquial sentence influenced by local dialects and by quirks of history.

1 is somewhat more northern, but common in a lot of China, and perhaps most common overall. 2 is perhaps half as common as 1, but it's more southern, and common in Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia (and perhaps other places, e.g. the southern mainland or some of it), where people will often swear they've never heard 1 (and likewise, proponents of 1 will often swear they've never heard 2). In each of these two cases, proponents of one version will say why the other isn't logical, and none of their reasons is really very convincing. It seems the usage of one or the other is really about history, habit, and experience.

3 is fairly common, but not as common as 1. It feels unnatural to some speakers (particularly to many who like 1) but not to others (those who like 2 are usually fine with it, as are some who like 1). Those who don't like it will even go so far as to say it sounds like you don't really know what a telephone number is, or even what a telephone is.

Where English has a greater influence, 3 seems like the more correct or formal structure to some speakers. That's not to say that 3 doesn't have inherent support by the rules of Chinese itself, but it's not necessarily the go-to phrasing historically in broad swathes of the Mandarin-speaking world, and some native speakers say they never hear anyone use it. But many native Mandarin speakers will swear that it's the only truly correct option.

There are still other ways to ask this question, including shortening the above sentences, but I would stick with those three choices to begin with.

Here are some Youtube videos teaching the "多少" version (which is the most common version on Youtube):

By the way, all of my Taiwanese friends use either 2 or 3, or some variation of those, but, as noted, 1 seems to be popular in YouTube instructional videos by native Chinese speakers (and it's the most common in a Google internet search).


多少 actually means how little, 饭馆 is not the word they use in chinese for restaurants, the correct way to phrase the sentence is 餐馆的电话号码是什么,我想订位


Actually in Beijing we use 饭馆 with an 儿.


There are a lot of people, including a lot of Chinese people, saying that 多少 is pretty common in some places in China.


I typed in exactly what is written here, and it marked it wrong! Maybe because I had a space after the question mark? But it usually ignores punctuation.


Ding wei=book a table Dian cai = order


订 (dìng) = to agree/to order
位 (wèi) = position/seet(/classifier for people)
订位 (dìngwèi) = to book a table

Using wèi as a classifier for people:
几(jǐ) = how many
几位 (jǐwèi) = how many of you

Another 'to order':
订= to order
点 = to order(/o'clock)


The 的 in that sentence I think can be omitted. But then that might only be passable in colloquial speech and not technically correct.


It should not be omitted


It would be really nice if someone could explain why we use 要 here instead of 想.


要 is a bit stronger, like you really will do something, not just thinking about it.


Its interchangable since xiang means 'think(s)' and yao means 'want'


I think 饭店 should also be accepted


It told me I was wrong for not putting a question mark but there was no question mark


I dont think this was the correct way to make this a question


I cannot take the 多少 you want to count how many numbers are in the phone number?


Why is it that you ask how much is the number???


Same reason why you ask "how many years do you have" in Spanish. Different languages have different expressions. Perfectly normal.


I have submitted the correct answer, word for word, 5 times and it is still not passing me! Is anyone else having this issue?


Yes here! It was wrong because of the space between the two sentences....


Ugh...it won't let me continue. The button is covered at the bottom.


Can anyone tell me why my answer is being repeatedly flagged as wrong? I entered : 饭馆的电话号码是多少 ? 我要订位。and every single time it gets rejected!


Yes, it's because you're using space characters around the question mark. Duolingo doesn't allow spaces in Chinese (whether before or after punctuation) because they're not used in proper Chinese typing.

I can see that the reason for your use of space characters is that you want the question mark spacing to look like it does in proper Chinese typing. If you want that, you have to use a proper Chinese-encoded question mark, which has the correct spacing built in, without the need for any actual space characters.

If, for some reason, you don't normally get a Chinese question mark while typing in Chinese (or, even worse, if your keyboard automatically inserts space characters), you may have to change your keyboard settings. (You have the right period, so it's strange to me that your keyboard wouldn't also be producing the right question mark.)


That is very annoying! It must be a problem with the program on my phone, because I don't usually have these issues when I'm on my laptop. Still, duolingo is forgiving of typos and space errors in my english, why can't they do the same for the chinese? 我不明白!

Thanks for the reply! I was wondering if I was losing it!


No worries. Duolingo is either not very sophisticated when it comes to analyzing spaces in Chinese, or the Chinese team wants to make a deliberate point about proper Chinese typing.

BTW, if your keyboard inserts spaces automatically and you can't seem to be able to change the settings to do anything about it, then you might have to go back and delete them manually.

But if it's just that it won't give you Chinese punctuation, you can usually still get away with Western punctuation, as long as you don't use spaces, and if that fails, you can also get away with no punctuation at all, but again, don't add spaces, even between sentences.


OMG! That was quite a complicated one (if not the most I ever did) I almost got it right - I just forgot the "是多少"=< what (aka "how many")

Yay, I'm so proud & happy to see that my hard work finally shows some progress.

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